I really want Laika to be the next Pixar. I know that is such a bold statement to make, especially after only one movie. But I feel like the animation studio possesses all the ingredients. Their first feature film, the groundbreaking 3D stop-motion animated film Coraline, was not only critically acclaimed, but also a financial success. The 3D stop-motion animation company has already built up some powerful brand recognition in the world of animation. Like Pixar, the company operates out of the Hollywood system, based in Oregon, far away from the LA smog.
When I think Laika, I think hand crafted, and I also think of Henry Selick, the animation director who was behind Coraline, and to me was as much a part of the company as John Lasseter was to the early days of Pixar. So it was very surprising to learn that Selick has decided to leave Laika.
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Animation Studio Laika, best known for the 3D stop-motion animated feature adaptation of Coraline, laid off 63 employees in its computer animation department. Laika was originally setup as an animation studio which would produce both stop-motion and computer animated feature films. But Laika has decided that they would rather specialize in stop-motion animated projects.
Before Coraline, Henry Selick directed a computer animated short film for Laika titled Moongirl, which won the Short Film Special Jury prize at the Ottawa Film Festival. The short was a test for Selick, who originally planned to film Coraline as a computer animated feature. For those of you interested, you can watch Moongirl embedded after the jump. More information about the layoffs at Laika and the company’s future plans, also included after the jump.
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